August 26, 2018 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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Acute myeloid leukemia is one of the most aggressive cancers. While other cancers have benefited from new treatments, there has been no encouraging news for most leukemia patients over the past 40 years. Until now.
As published last week in the scientific journal CellProfessor Yinon Ben-Neriah and his research team at the Faculty of Medicine of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) have developed a new biological drug with a cure rate of 50% for laboratory mice with acute leukemia.
Leukemia produces a variety (and a large amount) of proteins that together provide leukemic cells with rapid growth and death protection through chemotherapy.
To date, most biological anti-cancer drugs used to treat leukemia are targeted only at individual leukemic cell proteins. However, during treatments with "targeted therapy", leukemic cells quickly activate their other proteins to block the drug. The result is drug-resistant leukemia cells that quickly grow again and renew the disease.
However, the new drug developed by Ben-Neriah and his team functions as a cluster bomb. It attacks several leukemic proteins at the same time, making it difficult for the leukemic cells to activate other proteins that can circumvent the therapy. Furthermore, this drug accomplishes the work of three or four separate drugs with a single molecule, which means that reducing cancer patients must be exposed to different therapies and to deal with their often unbearable side effects.
Furthermore, the new medicine's ability to eradicate leukemic stem cells is promising. This has long been the major challenge in the treatment of cancer and one of the main reasons why scientists have been unable to cure acute leukemia.
"We were thrilled to see such dramatic changes even after just a single dose of the new drug." Almost all "leukemic" symptoms of the laboratory mice disappeared overnight, & & nbsp; # 39; shares Professor Ben-Neriah.
BioTheryX recently acquired the rights to this promising drug from HU & # 39; s technology transfer company Yissum. Together with Ben-Neriah's research team, they now apply for FDA approval for Phase I clinical trials.